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How the top players of India Inc are propagating a giving culture

Source | The Economic Times : By Sreeradha Dasgupta Basu & Brinda Dasgupta

MUMBAI | BENGALURU: Companies in India are increasingly propagating a giving culture, which offers employees an opportunity to contribute to social causes while also boosting their engagement with the organisation. Citi IndiaSAPPwCIBM and the RPG Group are among companies scaling up their efforts, with more and more employees participating in the programmes in various ways — such as offering money through payroll initiatives, time through volunteering and expertise in specialised areas.

In the past one year, Giving at Citi — a payroll giving programme that allows staff to donate a part of their monthly salary to a cause — saw the number of participating employees nearly doubling and their contribution going up two-and-a-half times.

This year, for the first time, summer interns spent a day each at some of the partner programme centres to experience and contribute first-hand. CSR Champions, who are Citi seniors, lend their management expertise and advice to their chosen partner programmes.

“Efforts are consistently on to ensure deeper engagement through specially curated programmes that enable support to communities around us,” said Anuranjita Kumar, the chief human resources officer at Citi South Asia.

At the RPG Group, about a tenth of the conglomerate’s 20,000-plus employees is actively engaged in volunteering. Radha Goenka, trustee of the RPG Foundation, the group’s CSR wing, is looking to drive this up to at least 20% over the next two years.

“We believe in encouraging the spirit of volunteerism from the top-down, and CEOs across our group companies are now being more vocal about the need to engage with local communities and the benefits that involvement with social causes can offer,” said Goenka.

In a few months, RPG will kick start a crowdfunding exercise, where employees will pick causes they are passionate about, build teams and create campaigns, videos and content.

Gunjan Patel, head of CSR at SAP India, said nearly 70% of its 10,000-odd employees participated in various CSR initiatives through the year. Projects with NGOs range from education and skill-building to donation drives. Last year, 12 employees were given one-two weeks off as part of a local sabbatical to work with social welfare organisations, create technology platforms for them and help them with supply chain management, marketing, talent strategy and expansion plans.

It’s a win-win situation for both companies and employees. For firms, such initiatives help boost employee engagement and loyalty — Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey results indicate that creating a culture of volunteerism in the workplace may boost morale, workplace atmosphere, and brand perception.

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